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Preparing a Nation? »

The New Deal in the Villages of Papua New Guinea

Authored by: Brad Underhill
Publication date: 2024
Preparing a Nation?, based on extensive archival research, addresses perennial questions of Australian colonialism in Papua New Guinea. To what extent did Australia prepare Papua New Guinea for independence? And what were the policies and the ideologies behind colonial development, implemented after World War Two? A key innovation of this book is to take these questions from policy desks in Canberra and Port Moresby to the villages of four administrative areas: Chimbu, Milne Bay, Sepik and New Hanover. How successful were Australian colonial planners in designing and implementing programs that could ameliorate the potential harm of market capitalism and develop ‘new’ socioeconomic structures that would combine a disparate people into an ‘imagined community’, capable of becoming an independent nation-state in the far distant future? Colonial intention is contrasted with Indigenous experience. Bradley Underhill explores an Australian governmental tendency to prioritise colonial control over Indigenous autonomy in circumstances where subjugated people do not necessarily fit within an expected narrative of compliant or westernised ‘native’. ‘I expect it will become the standard reference for its subject, which covers a pivotal aspect of Australia’s colonial administration.’ — Bill Gammage

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A Grammar of Warlmanpa »

Authored by: Mitchell Browne
Publication date: 2024
As spoken by Bunny Naburula, Danny Cooper, Dick Foster, Donald Graham, Doris Kelly, Elizabeth Johnson, George Brown, Gladys Brown, Jack Walker, Jessie Cooper, Jimmy Newcastle, Julie Kelly, Lofty Japaljarri, Louie Martin, May Foster, Norah Graham, Penny Kelly, Penny Williams, Selina Grant, Susannah Nelson, Topsy Walker, Toprail Japaljarri and William Graham. This volume is a descriptive analysis of Warlmanpa, a highly endangered language traditionally spoken northwest of the town of Tennant Creek, where most of the remaining speakers now live. This grammatical description is based on language work carried out by community members and linguists since 1952, and is the first published reference grammar of the language. The major areas of analysis include phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax. This volume also provides description of typologically notable features, including: a two-way stop contrast at each place of articulation; a complex second-position auxiliary system containing participant and tense/mood/aspect information; associated motion; and a lack of evidence for noun phrases. This volume lays the foundation for future Warlmanpa language work.

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Defying Beijing »

Societal Resistance to the Belt and Road in Myanmar

Authored by: Debby Chan
Publication date: June 2024
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to construct a Sino-centric transcontinental infrastructure network in Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond. Within this initiative, the China–Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) is a vital strategic component. The shortcut to the Indian Ocean seeks to improve China’s energy security and facilitate trade. Defying Beijing: Societal Resistance to the Belt and Road in Myanmar shows how Myanmar was able to capitalise on Chinese BRI ambitions to achieve its own desired outcomes during the country’s political liberalisation in the 2010s. Belying the asymmetrical relationship between these two nations, the Myitsone hydropower dam was suspended, the Letpadaung copper mine’s contract was renegotiated, and the Kyaukphyu deep seaport project was downsized. China offered concessions to Myanmar instead of pressuring it to honour those signed agreements. Contrasting a common proposition that US-Myanmar rapprochement disrupted the BRI projects in Myanmar, Defying Beijing argues that the rise of new foreign policy actors – citizens – made project continuation costlier for Naypyidaw in the course of political liberalisation in the 2010s. Naypyidaw was pressured to renegotiate terms with Beijing in the wake of social outcry in the country. Defying Beijing advances our understanding of Chinese–Myanmar BRI relations and demonstrates how citizens can change the course of events of BRI cooperation despite oppressive political environments and an imbalanced bargaining structure. In post-coup Myanmar, Naypyidaw’s policy options were not conditioned by public opinion or protests; nonetheless, armed resistance has posed new domestic constraints in the CMEC’s implementation. Clearly, bilateral economic agreements without citizens’ endorsement are fraught with legitimacy problems and instabilities.

China’s New Era »

Publication date: June 2024
According to Communist Party discourse, China’s ‘New Era’ began when Xi Jinping was anointed Party boss in 2012. The shape of this New Era became eminently clear in 2023 when Xi commenced his third five-year term as General Secretary of the Party, a fortification of one-man authoritarian rule unprecedented in post-Mao China. Under Xi, the Party has expanded its influence over government, the economy and society. The Party-State is now more Party than State. The year 2023 saw other ‘new eras’ for China as well. Despite initial optimism sparked by the end of COVID-19 restrictions in late 2022, the Chinese economy in 2023 was buffeted by continuing property sector woes, record unemployment, and an unfolding local government debt crisis. Globally, China adopted a series of new and ambitious diplomatic initiatives to woo the Global South and amplify its voice on the world stage. The China Story Yearbook 2023: China’s New Era provides informed perspectives on these and other important stories that will resonate for years to come.

Ginkgo Village »

Trauma and Transformation in Rural China

Authored by: Tamara Jacka
Publication date: June 2024
Ginkgo Village provides an original and powerfully intimate bottom-up perspective on China’s recent tumultuous history. Drawing on ethnographic and life-history research, the book takes readers deep into a village in a mountainous region of central-eastern China known as Eyuwan. In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, villagers in this region experienced terrible trauma and far-reaching socio‑economic and political change. In the civil war (1927–1949), they were slaughtered in fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces. During the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961), they suffered appalling famine. Since the 1990s, mass labour outmigration has lifted local villagers out of poverty and fuelled major transformations in their circumstances and practices, social and family relationships, and values and aspirations. At the heart of this book are eight tales that recreate Ginkgo Village life and the interactions between villagers and the researchers who visit them. These tales use storytelling to engender an empathetic understanding of Ginkgo Villagers’ often traumatic life experiences; to present concrete details about transformations in everyday village life in an engaging manner; and to explore the challenges and rewards of fieldwork research that attempts empathetic understanding across cultures.

Humanities Research: Volume XX, Number 1, 2024 »

Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond

Edited by: Kylie Message, Frank Bongiorno, Robert Wellington
Publication date: May 2024
‘Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond’ explores the roles, responsibilities and challenges of the humanities in 2024 and beyond. It examines if and how our public cultural institutions and disciplines engage ethically and meaningfully with the challenges of contemporary life, and sheds light on how the conception and practice of humanities research is developing institutionally as well as through collaboration with partners and communities beyond the university context. This high-profile publication marks a number of historic moments, including the increasing urgency of the humanities in contemporary life, as well as the rapid development of interdisciplinary, digital and public humanities over the last decade, and the opportunities for international collaboration reflected in the post-COVID 19 resumption of international travel. It also marks the 50th-year anniversary of the Humanities Research Centre at The Australian National University, and the re-launch of Humanities Research.

‘My own sort of heaven’ »

A life of Rosalie Gascoigne

Authored by: Nicola Francis
Publication date: 2024
Widely regarded as a major Australian artist, Rosalie Gascoigne first exhibited in 1974 at the age of fifty-seven. She rapidly achieved critical acclaim for her assemblages which were her response to the Monaro landscape surrounding Canberra. The great blonde paddocks, vast skies and big raucous birds contrasted with the familiar lush green harbour city of Auckland she had left behind. Her medium: weathered discards from the landscape. By her death in 1999, her work had been purchased for major public art collections in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and New York, and had been exhibited across Europe and Asia. Gascoigne’s story is often cast in simple terms—an inspirational tale of an older woman ‘finding herself’ later in life and gaining artistic acclaim. But the reality is much more complex and contingent. This biography explores Gascoigne’s achievement of her ‘own sort of heaven’ through the frame of the narrative she told once she had gained fame, using a series of interviews she gave from 1980 to 1998. It revolves around her frequently stated sense of feeling an outsider, her belief that artists are born not made, and other factors central to the development and impact of her work. Migrating to Australia from New Zealand in 1943, Gascoigne experienced the dramatic social changes of the 1960s and 1970s and benefited from the growth of cultural life in Canberra, a developing Australian art industry, and changing conceptions of aesthetic beauty.

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The Chinese in Papua New Guinea »

Past, Present and Future

Publication date: May 2024
Papua New Guinean, Chinese and Australian people have long been entangled in the creation of complex histories and political debates concerning the similarities and differences of each group. These debates are fundamental to understanding how a sense of national unity in Papua New Guinea is formed, as well as within analyses of the wider world of strategic power dynamics and influence. The Chinese in Papua New Guinea offers a comprehensive and nuanced examination of the Chinese in Papua New Guinea. Chinese, Papua New Guinean and Australian interactions are analysed in the context of ongoing shifts in colonial power, increased regional engagement with China, and current political instabilities across the Indo-Pacific region. The many ways the Chinese have been defined as actors in PNG’s history and politics are analysed against the backdrop of a rapidly changing global order. The complexity of Chinese experiences within Papua New Guinea is given expression, here, with chapters that stress political and historical heterogeneity, the importance of language for understanding Chinese social relations, and that articulate rich personal experiences of race relations.

Small Islands in Peril? »

Island Size and Island Lives in Melanesia

Edited by: Colin Filer
Publication date: 2024
This book explores the idea that small island communities could be regarded as canaries in the coalmine of sustainable development because of scientific and anecdotal evidence of a common link between rapid population growth, degradation of the local resource base, and intensification of disputes over the ownership and use of terrestrial and marine resources. The authors are all anthropologists with a specific interest in the question of whether the economic and social ‘safety valves’ that have previously served to break some of the feedback loops between these trends appear to be losing their efficacy. While much of the debate about economy-society-environment relationships on small islands has been overtaken by a narrow focus on the problem of climate change, the authors show that there are many other factors at work in the transformation of island lives and livelihoods.

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After Neoliberalism »

Authored by: John Quiggin
Publication date: 2024
Since the early 1980s, Australian economic policy has been dominated by the ideology of neoliberalism (also known as ‘economic rationalism’), including policies of privatisation, financial deregulation and micro-economic reform. Throughout this period, John Quiggin has presented critical assessments of neoliberal policies and the claims about productivity growth made in support of those policies. The credibility of neoliberalism was fatally wounded by the Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath. Nevertheless, market ideology has lumbered on in zombie form, for want of a clear alternative. It is only recently that we have begun to reverse the failed policies of privatisation and deregulation and to consider radical alternatives such as a shift to a four-day week. This book provides a historical perspective in the form of a series of articles written from the mid-1980s to the present day. It concludes with some suggestions for the way forward, after neoliberalism. ‘John Quiggin is the intellectual equivalent of a dazzling fireworks display. I walk away from every encounter with a bright new insight, and this book is no exception. Agree or disagree, Professor Quiggin is a veritable trove of fresh insights. Spanning nearly four decades, this volume brings together some of Professor Quiggin’s most provocative contributions, driven by a deep commitment to equity. It will pique your curiosity and encourage you to work towards a better world.’ —Andrew Leigh, Parliamentarian and author of The Shortest History of Economics

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